It’s quickly earned its place in the community as “The Beautiful Beacon on the Hill” throughout Jefferson County and rightfully so. The sparkling $9 million Madras Aquatic Center which formally opened with a week of ceremonies, activities and free public swim days, has been a half-century in the making and offers a lifetime of enjoyment.
Almost three years after Jefferson County residents narrowly passed an $8.1 million construction bond and operating levy, the 27,098 square foot indoor facility complete with three pools, locker rooms, community/party room and formal lobby has been completed.
“Many in the community don’t realize what they’re getting,” said Grant Hayball, facility general manager. “This will become a focal point in the community. Kids will learn to swim here and play in a healthy environment.
“We’ll have yoga and Pilates classes in the community room. Madras will form a swim club and there are also plans for a master team. We’ll offer water aerobics and other programs for everyone, and in the end, the community will be better for it.”
Built on a 3.5-acre parcel just south of Jefferson County Middle School, the facility offers a 25-yard, six-lane lap pool, leisure pool with play structures and an entry pool for the 25-foot, three-level water slide that is sure to become a big hit with the kids.
The three stainless steel, Italian-built Myrtha Pools are neatly trimmed with blue tile and the west facing wall of windows that allows the building to glow at night and offers unbelievable views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, The Three Sisters and Broken Top.
The exterior includes a combination of concrete masonry, wood, structured steel and walls of glass on the south and west ends of the building.
The formal lobby at the east end of the building includes a large reception desk, fireplace with a neatly-designed wood mantel and modern lighting with ceiling fans that offers openness and easy accessibility.
Cedar wood makes a strong statement on the ceilings, exposed trusses, fireplace mantel and reception desk and a planned kiosk offering coffee, drinks and snacks with adjoining table next to the kids’ play area was well-conceived.
The kids will enjoy the water toy area where they can simply push a button and buckets of water will come toppling down to cool them off or water trickles off the sculpted tree leaves next to the lazy river. Water also shoots upward in the splash-down area for the water slide, so it’s safe to say everyone is going to be refreshed in the summertime.
Hayball said plans are in the works for basketball hoops and volleyball nets for water games and a one-meter diving board in the future.
The community/party room, with a capacity of 50 guests, can be partitioned for joint activities and the two oversized sliding doors leading to the west-facing, outside wood deck is also a great place to socialize when families aren’t swimming.
Robinson Construction, whose trademark is building schools throughout the Pacific Northwest, aptly built what is quickly becoming the pride of Jefferson County and project manager Greg Van Dyke likened the facility to an oversized custom home.
“It’s like a big custom home with some unique building practices,” he said. “We actually excavated for the pool last. We initially dug the holes for the pools and then back filled the three holes to begin building the building’s shell.
“Once the exterior walls were completed and the infrastructure was in place, we came back with small excavators and dug the holes.
“The ceiling panels are also pretty creative. The pre-insulated panels are composed of plywood, eight-inch insulation and then more plywood for sustainability. Water heater panels on the roof help heat the pool and the duct socks that won’t corrode offer low maintenance while helping to circulate the air inside.”
The locker rooms are bright and open thanks to overhead sky lights that allow natural lighting and the two family changing rooms and day lockers insure that guests will be comfortable and well attended.
There are three administration offices for lifeguards, first aid, pool maintenance and program activities just down the hallway from the reception desk and Hayball’s office opens to either the pool deck area or reception for easy access.
“I grew up swimming in Sandy, and my family has been around municipal, school and other public pools for 40 years,” Hayball said. “I’ve never seen a pool as nice as this one with so many amenities. We continue to learn and advance with technology over the years when it comes to building public pools, and the designers (Opsis Architects of Portland) certainly implemented the best there is to offer at this facility.”
Perhaps an editorial in The Madras Pioneer best summarized the general feeling of the community that has waited nearly 60 years for a public pool.
“After a half-century of good ideas, worthy efforts and no-chance votes, it’s finally a reality. Madras has its swimming pool. . .
“Madras has gotten its hopes up and subsequently dashed over various pool efforts in nearly every decade since the end of World War II. Every effort failed, and most failed miserably. . .
“Congratulations to the few for making things happen for the masses—for shepherding this project to light. But mostly, congratulations to Madras. The wait is over. Enjoy your pool.”